The cross-country haul of a huge, multi-million dollar sculpture known as “Cycle” was a super load adventure that spanned 4,000 miles. J.F. Lomma Rigging and Specialized Services performed the project that involved 12 loads which started in Bayonne, NJ and culminated on a private island off the coast of Seattle, WA. The sculpture pieces were trucked from New Jersey to Seattle and then barged to the island.
“They were all oversized loads,” explains Dave Pursley, project manager for J.F. Lomma, based in South Kearny, NJ. “The largest pieces weighed close to 58,000 pounds. Some were in the weight range of 48,000 pounds and the lightest was about 43,000 pounds.”
For the larger pieces, the dimensions of the load were 15-feet, 4-inches tall and up to 15-feet, 10-inches wide and 78-feet long.
Beyond the value and delicate nature of the sculpture pieces, the route was quite the challenge. Normally the trip from New Jersey to Seattle would be about 3,000 miles. But due to the nature of the permitting and the need to circumvent construction and roadways not approved for the super load, the trip swelled to 4,000 miles, Pursley says.
“It was a circuitous route due to roadway construction and width, height and weight problems,” he says. “We sometimes had to travel into states we didn’t want to pass through to get to where we needed to go.”
Routing issues started right off the bat, due to highway and bridge construction obstacles. The route plan involved a more southerly route and included Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, South Dakota, Montana, Idaho and into Washington.
“In West Virginia we had to take a lot of detours and back roads,” says Pursley. “It took a day-and-a-half to get through West Virginia alone. We were required to have four private escorts per load in West Virginia. For the rest of the trip we just needed front and rear escorts.”
Winter weather was an issue in South Dakota, Montana and Idaho, with falling snow delaying travel.
“We got delayed with restrictions and had to wait a day for roads to clear in South Dakota,” Pursley says.
As they got into the city of Seattle, construction work caused further delays.
“The route we needed to take was under construction so they would allow us to only run on Fridays, and it had to be during the evenings,” says Pursley. “Plus we had to have more escorts, too.”
Despite the obstacles, the loads made it to the holding yard four days earlier than required. The arrival dates were critical due to the barge and crane only being there on certain days. The crane used to off-load the trailers and load the barges was a Manitowoc Model 4100.
“We had two critical delivery dates and all hell would have broken out if we weren’t there as far as bringing the barges into the slip to pick up the pieces,” he says.
While the security and safety of the crew and then the sculpture pieces were of utmost concern, Pursley says the most arduous effort was the permitting.
“Our permitting department did an incredible job,” he says. “Most people don’t realize with a move like this the amount of coordination that has to go on. There’s so much communication required and many deadlines and issues to confront. For instance, in Pennsylvania we originally wanted to travel across I-70 but they wouldn’t allow that, so that’s why we had to go out on Highway 64 into Kentucky and Illinois. Our permitting manager Theresa Chilensky did a great job.”
Some of the loads were rigged using tri-axle lowboys due to the need to get the heights down to 15-feet, 4-inches. Nine of the loads required the use of lowboy trailers, and on the remaining three, step decks were used.
Many of the sculpture pieces were shaped like gigantic curved arches, Pursley says.
“They were all odd shapes, which made rigging and loading them out even more challenging,” he says. “Due to the shapes, one end might be higher than the other end. You had to place the truck and block it just right. Some pieces were shaped like half-moons with one end being longer and heavier. Because this was a very expensive sculpture, in the millions of dollars, we had to be very careful with the rigging. They showed us the pick points. Some areas we had to protect the sculpture from the chains so we used protectors.”
Low bridges and sharp turns were a concern because the sculpture pieces were so delicate and expensive. “There could be no bumping,” says Pursley.
Once on the island the giant pieces of structural steel were then assembled and put together into the piece of artwork designed by the artist.
The project involved 13 trucks and drivers and in excess of 20 escorts. All the equipment used was owned by J.F. Lomma, Inc. Rigging, loading and erection of the sculpture was performed by Budco Enterprises of Long Island, NY. Offloading onto the barges was done by Heko Services of Seattle, WA.